Popularly known for being hazardous because of its carcinogenic properties, asbestos is a building material that was commonly used in the early twentieth century. While the manufacture of many asbestos materials was stopped late in the same century, many houses, commercial buildings and apartments, as well as hospitals and schools, still have asbestos. For this reason, the need for safe asbestos removal and clean-up is necessary particularly when one is planning to renovate or demolish a building.
Is asbestos hazardous?
Asbestos can be considered relatively safe and stable when fixed or bound in material applications then left untouched. The danger occurs after the material is disturbed, especially during demolition. When disturbed, the asbestos fibres spread into the air, making it easy for people to inhale them. Once these tiny fibres are inhaled, they get lodged in the lung lining. The body doesn't have the means to get rid of the fibres; they get stuck in the body permanently.
If an individual continues to get exposed to the fibres, an asbestos ailment develops. Usually, it's a scar tissue build-up known as asbestosis. What's more, the fibres can lead to mesothelioma, a rare and often fatal cancer found in the lung lining. Note that asbestosis can take decades to manifest fully, but it is incurable. As a result, it's vital to ensure you and your loved ones don't get exposed to asbestos fibres at all.
Where is asbestos often found?
Asbestos was mainly used as insulation in roofing and walls. It was also utilised to strengthen cement and plastics. Other common uses for asbestos included siding & roof tiles, textured paints, joint and ceiling compounds and luminous light fixture backings.
The only way you can know if your building has asbestos is by hiring an asbestos testing contractor to examine the entire area. Once they confirm that asbestos is present, don't try to remove the material yourself. It's advisable to hire an asbestos removal contractor instead, since they will remove and dispose of it correctly.
How is the removal done?
Experts use specific approaches to remove asbestos and control their exposure. First, testing is done to evaluate the risk levels of encapsulation or removal. The results will outline the scope of the project. Depending on the test results, proper processes are implemented. They may go for encapsulation (sealing the materials that contain asbestos) or complete removal. Finally, an air quality test is done to evaluate if the house or commercial building is safe for human habitation.